Sustainability use of information and communication technologies: a case study of an asset management company
Ngwenya, Mpendulo Hilary Farai
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The problem of global warming has triggered a number of environmental initiatives aimed at mitigating climate change, many of which are driven at governmental level - although private organisations have also taken the initiative. The organisation under study - hereafter referred to as “Company-A” - is one such organisation which has taken strides in incorporating environmental initiatives in its business processes. Company-A is a South African based asset management organisation which has seen rapid growth in its business operations and consequently the number of its employees. This growth has necessitated the need for a new office building. At the commencement of this study the organisation was in the process of planning for a new office building to accommodate its growth. The senior management of Company-A recognised the importance of implementing environmentally friendly practices at the new office building, and sought the services of a sustainability consultancy firm to assist in the planning for the new office building. This study was necessitated by the fact that despite the company’s recognition of the importance and need to implement environmentally friendly processes within its business processes, there was a lack of understanding or appreciation of how ICT could be used in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner in its new office building. With this problem in mind - the researcher - in consultation with the organisations’ new office building project manager and research supervisor, formulated a research question which was continuously refined until such a point that it was clear. It was envisaged that a research study to answer the research question: How can Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) be used to support environmental sustainability in an organisation? - would provide insight on how the organisation’s top management could deal with the aforementioned problem. The primary purpose of the study was to assist Company-A management in making informed decisions regarding sustainability ICT use, the research can also be used as a foundation in the formulation of the organisation’s “green” ICT strategies and policies. The main research question was divided into smaller sub questions to give structure, clarity and direction in addressing the main research question. These sub questions were in turn used to formulate the research objectives which set the goals and boundaries of this study.